How can working moms keep breastfeeding their babies?
Many pregnant moms go through pregnancy knowing they will be returning to work. The amount of maternity leave taken by new moms can vary widely, from as little as 6 weeks to as much as 6 months or a year.
The ability to continue breastfeeding, pump your breast milk and maintain a healthy work/home life balance may seem daunting, but it can be managed. You’ll need to be organized and you’ll need support.
Here’s what every breastfeeding working mom needs to know:
- Continue to breastfeed your baby when you are at home if possible, have someone bring your baby to your workplace at lunchtime.
- Plan to pump for the feedings when you’ll be away from your baby. It would be best if you and your baby’s caregiver coordinate your baby’s feeding times with your pumping times.
- Being a little late or early for one of the pumping sessions should not cause too much disruption in the daily routine.
- Two to three weeks before your return to work, write down all feeding times during the hours you will be gone. You should begin to see a pattern. You will then match the baby’s feeding times with your pumping times while you’re at work. Then when you start your work routine, you will have a general idea of when you should be taking your breaks for pumping sessions.
- As you transition towards solid foods, your baby will require fewer bottle feedings during the day while you are at work.
- Wear your hands free pumping bra.
- Have your snack or meals while pumping.
- Some moms can get work done while they are pumping.
- Some moms use pumping as a time to relax, meditate or rest.
- Don’t worry, pumping sessions can be long or short, but they’ll average out.
- Milk volume changes over the course of the day.
- Do not hesitate to use all of the available resources to make more milk, including herbal supplements, aromatherapy, massage, tea, diet and hand-expressing milk.
You’ll find the following items become an essential part of your pumping routine at work:
- A small cooler to transport the milk you’ve pumped during the day.
- Refreezable ice packs in your cooler are an excellent way to keep your breast milk chilled.
- Extra breast pump parts, such as flanges, pump connectors and storage bottles and baggies.
- Hands-free bras.
- Gallon size freezer bags to hold your pump parts between sessions. This will allow you to reuse the parts without washing them every time you pump at work. You can clean all the parts once you get home.
- Food-safe wipes to quickly clean your pump parts, if you don’t have access to water.
Worried about transitioning back to work after maternity leave? Share your concerns with one of our healthcare professionals for more personalized support.